In George F. Kennan's “Training for Statesmanship,” he addresses the element of power. His most compelling observation concerning this issue is that power “sometimes exists in irregular forces.” He then continues to state that theses forces are found “in underworld and criminal gangs.” This observation is imperative because throughout history is has become apparent that these self-appointed forces gain power through terror.
This observation holds true specifically in the United States. In the US there are 926 “hate groups.” Most of these groups are extremists that use violence to hold authority and power. Radicals exists from Neo-Nazis, Anti-Gay, KKK, White Nationalists, and cults. They use violence and possess control and command over others.
Neo-Nazi's intend to revive political and social aspects of Nazism. Most support discrimination and ethnic cleansing. Discrimination is the fuel of irregular forces of power. They brainwash others to believe that the honorable thing to do is keep one pure race. This is a direct example of a vigilante group. In their eyes, what they are doing is beneficial, although it is clearly destructive to society. Anti-Gay groups focus on tormenting those who are in homosexual relationships. Although society is entitled to individual opinions, the problem arises in those who use fear and terror to prove their point. It seems a little coincidental that many victims of murder are homosexual.
Similarly the KKK and White Nationalists uses terror, violence, and lynching to oppress African Americans, Jews, and other minorities that may be a “threat” to the interests of white Americans. This group has power because of its immense secrecy. In 1963, the “16th Street Baptist Church Bombing” killed four girls. The case was determined to be a racially motivated attack by the KKK in 2000. Groups such as these can get away with such violent attacks because of the authority they possess.
There is a defining line between a religion and a cult. A religion is a system of beliefs and practices that are based upon a power that controls human destiny, while a cult is unorthodox and extremist. Followers are brainwashed and manipulated to believe in demented practices. Most groups use fear to obtain their followers. Cults are so influential that several mass suicides have occurred over the years. From 1994 to 1997, seventy-four of the Order of the Sun's followers committed suicide leaving letters behind. The believed their deaths would be an escape from the “hypocrisies and oppression” of this world.
Power can be used beneficially, but when it is used in a corrupt manner, peace is unattainable. Kennan's observation holds true in the US among all of the radical group. Those who have extremist views towards a race, ethnicity, religion, or social class sometimes, unfortunately, express these views using power and authority as a direct result of fear. They will not cease to exist either. It will always be a power struggle.